Some Unintended Consequences of Metaphors: The Case of Capital in Intellectual Capital Research

Marzo Giuseppe/ Financial ReportingRiviste /Fascicolo: 3-2013


The paper focuses on the consequences that the metaphorical use of the concept of capital can generate on research on Intellectual Capital. Consequences here analysed refer to: 1) the understanding of IC as being composed of homogenous and separable units; 2) those that are assets; 3) those expected to be under the proprietorship of someone; and 4) those expressible in monetary terms on the balance sheet. The analysis of consequences also offers some insights into overcoming the capital metaphor in favour of a sharper differentiation between the concepts at the basis of the traditional notion of capital, and the ones at the basis of IC.

Keywords: Metaphor, theory of firm, resource-based, view.


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